Fat Finger Errors

A huge 'fat finger’ error, worth $617bn, has recently hit the Japanese stock market. Share orders worth several billion dollars were cancelled in Japan due to a trading error. At 9.25 a.m. local time, orders for shares in 42 companies totalling 67.78tn yen ($617bn, £380bn, €488bn) were cancelled, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the Japan Securities Dealers Association. The total worth of the stock orders was a staggering amount, which could be likened to more than the size of Sweden’s economy. The companies involved in the trading error included Toyota Motor, Honda Motor, Canon, Sony and Nomura Holdings. The biggest order that had been placed was for Toyota shares at 1.96 billion, representing 57% of the company’s outstanding shares, for 12.68tn yen through an off-exchange transaction. Off exchange or overthe-counter trades are conducted directly between two parties without supervision of the stock exchange. „It’s not rocket science that there was a fat finger here, but it reopens the question about accountability,” Gavin Parry, Managing Director at Hong Kong-based brokerage Parry International Trading, told Bloomberg. The trading errors commonly known as 'fat finger’ are not a novelty in Japan. In 2009, UBS erroneously ordered 3tn yen’s worth of convertible bonds in Capcom. In 2005, Mizuho Securities tried to sell 610,000 shares at 1 yen apiece of a job
recruiting firm called J-Com. It had actually intended to sell 1 share at 610,000 yen. In 2001, UBS mistakenly placed a sell order for 610,000 newly listed shares in the Japanese advertising giant Dentsu for 16 yen apiece, while the prevailing market price, or the FMV (fair market value), was 420,000 yen.

Adapted from ibtimes.co.uk

Exercise 1

Find the words or expressions in the text which mean the following:

1) pieces of a company’s wealth: __________
2) to reach the final amount: __________
3) to collect information: __________
4) very high: __________
5) to be compared to something: __________
6) a side, e.g. of an agreement or transaction: __________
7) responsibility: __________
8) a new thing: __________
9) an organization that deals with trading on the stock exchange: ___________
10)mistakenly: __________
11)per item: __________
12)the amount of money usually charged for something: __________


Exercise 2

Match the expressions from the two columns into logical collocations:

1) a fat finger                  market
2) the stock                     bonds
3) a trading                     science
4) to place                       a question
5) outstanding               transactions
6) off-exchange             error
7) rocket                          shares
8) to reopen                   error
9) convertible                shares
10)newly-listed              an order


Exercise 3

Provide English equivalents of these expressions:

1) dom maklerski
2) błędnie
3) transakcje pozagiełdowe
4) złożyć zamówienie
5) akcje pozostające w obrocie
6) obligacje zamienne
7) przeważająca cena rynkowa
8) realna wartość rynkowa
9) akcje nowo notowane na giełdzie
10)„czeski” błąd
11)błąd w obrocie papierami wartościowymi


Grammar corner…

Word formation in English is quite problematic for foreign learners, due to the fact that there are many ways in which you can modify words to make new ones. One of them is adding PREFIXES, which means putting something BEFORE a word to make a new one. PRE- in Latin means BEFORE. There are others that have their own meaning. In the text, you read about fat finger mistakes REopening the question of accountability. RE- means AGAIN, UNI- means SINGLE, BI- means DOUBLE, MULTI – means MANY, ANTI- means AGAINST, OVER- means TOO MUCH, while UNDER – means TOO LITTLE, etc.


Exercise  4

Complete the sentences making new words from the stems provided. Use prefixes.

1) The tickets are now available in ____________________ (SALES). You may purchase them before the official release date.
2) We’re heavily ____________________ (STAFFED)! We desperately need more employees to finish the project.
3) Enron shares were highly ____________________ (PRICED), which is what may have caused the whole scandal.
4) McDonald’s, like many other ____________________ (NATIONAL), are considered deep pockets and are therefore often sued in frivolous lawsuits.
5) The ____________________ (LATERAL) talks between the two countries at war have been suspended because of a border control incident.
6) Many products these days are ____________________ (SEX), which means they are aimed at both men and women.
7) Being ____________________ (ESTIMATED) by your boss is very bad for your motivation and commitment level.
8) According to ____________________ (TRUST) laws, no one business should control the majority of its market, because it doesn’t favour competition.
9) There used to be a trend in business was ____________________ (TASKING), but research in this regard has proven that the workers who did it were less productive than those focused on one task at a time.
10)We will ____________________ (CUT) the competitors with dumping prices!



to undercut – podciąć (np. nogi konkurencji)
antitrust laws – przepisy antymonopolowe
to underestimate sb – nie doceniać kogoś
bilateral – dwustronny (np. rozmowy dwustronne)
a multinational – międzynarodowa korporacja
to compile data – gromadzić dane
staggering – przytłaczający
to be likened to something – być porównanym do czegoś
a novelty – nowość
a brokerage – dom maklerski
erroneusly – błędnie
apiece – za sztukę
prevailing market price – przeważająca cena rynkowa
a fat-finger error – „czeski” błąd
the stock market – rynek papierów wartościowych
a trading error – błąd w obrocie papierami wartościowymi
to place an order – złożyć zamówienie
outstanding shares – akcje pozostające w obrocie
off-exchange transactions – transakcje pozagiełdowe
convertible bonds – obligacje zamienne
a newly-listed company – nowo notowana spółka
to be sued – zostać pozwanym
a frivolous lawsuit – nieuzasadniony pozew
deep pockets – firmy z dużym kapitałem, które są w stanie wypłacić duże odszkodowania
a commitment – zobowiązanie



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Ex. 1
1) shares
2) to total
3) to compile data
4) staggering
5) to be likened to something
6) a party
7) accountability
8) a novelty
9) a brokerage
12)prevailing market price

Ex. 2
1) a fat-finger error
2) the stock market
3) a trading error
4) to place an order
5) outstanding shares
6) off-exchange transactions
7) rocket science
8) to reopen a question
9) convertible bonds
10)newly-listed shares

Ex. 3
1) a brokerage
2) erroneously
3) off-exchange transactions
4) to place an order
5) outstanding share
6) convertible bonds
7) prevailing market price
8) fair market value
9) newly-listed shares
10)a fat-finger error
11)a trading error

Ex. 4
1) pre-sales
2) understaffed
3) overpriced
4) multinational
5) bilateral
6) unisex
7) underestimated
8) antitrust
9) multitasking